Around the middle of February each year the town of Grand Falls-Windsor becomes the hub of snowmobiling in central Newfoundland and February 19th – 20th, 2016 was no different. There is no better place to catch up with some old riding buddies as well as make some new ones than at the Mid Winter Bivver. This past year, 2016, was the fifth rendition of this event where high end culinary delights and snowmobiling meet.
When I was asked to attend this event, I jumped at the opportunity. I mean where else can you eat food prepared by some of the best chefs in the country, go for a snowmobile ride on the awesome scenic trails of central Newfoundland, and at the end of the day be entertained by the one and only Pete Soucy, better known as “Snook.”
Unfortunately, this year Mother Nature had a different plan. Leading up to the event there was a lot of rain and mild weather, which lead to extremely icy trail conditions with minimal snow. So what was everyone going to do if snowmobiling wasn’t on the menu for this year’s events? The event started on Friday night with a meet and greet “ice breaker.” Live entertainment, bonfire, silent auction, and fireworks paired perfectly with some of the best food money can buy: What else could one want?
It is important to note that every event during the weekend at the bivver features mouthwatering food created by Chef Roray Macpherson and his culinary team. Roray was recently a winner on the Food Network’s show Chopped Canada. Over the years his team has been comprised of some of the best local chefs from some of the most established restaurants in the province. The ingredients used were locally sourced and the food was so good that maybe I should have shed a few pounds before taking part in the event.
On Saturday there was supposed to be a “Trail Mix” interpretative snow ride, taking in some of the finest scenery Central Newfoundland has to offer, traveling over 150 kms on snowmobile in the Exploits Trail Net portion of the trailway. In addition to the company and scenery, a highlight of the ride is usually a trail side gourmet meal served by the chefs. However, since the ride was cancelled this past year a lunch was held at the Grand Falls Golf club. The lunch was so well received that for the 2017 Bivver they have made it a separate event with individual ticket sales.
The final event took place on Saturday evening and was called the “Forager’s Feast,” and it certainly lived up to its name. A five course sit down dinner and wine pairing event that was hosted by Snook. Each course was paired with wine and an abundance of laughter filled the room with Snook’s comedic styling. If anyone could move after the meal, you could boogie into the wee hours of the morning at the “Bivver Givver” dance that included local music group Young at Heart.
The Town of Grand Falls Windsor and the Mid Winter Bivver planning committee have already released the details of this year’s rendition of the event, which is being held on February 17th-18th, 2017. It includes two new events, a “backcountry” ride on Friday as well as the Bivver lunch on Saturday. Keep your eyes peeled on the Facebook page “Mid Winter Bivver” or check out the website www.midwinterbivver.com for more details on the 2017 event and to purchase tickets for the whole weekend or particular events that you may be interested in participating. Hopefully this year Mother Nature will be friendlier and provide us with some awesome conditions to ride snowmobile and take part in all the events that this awesome festival has to offer.